LA Spotlight

New Laws implemented 5 years post-Grenfell

During June the country marked the 5-year anniversary since the Grenfell Tower fire, which tragically resulted in the death of 72 people, in the worst residential fire since World War II. 

Following Dame Judith Hackitt’s report, Royal Ascent has now being given, and the Building Safety Act 2022 has finally become law, (albeit most of these regulations are yet to come into force). It is important to remember that some of the changes and requirements will apply to all buildings. Other specific requirements will relate only to “higher-risk” buildings (i.e. buildings in England that are at least 18 metres in height or have at least 7 storeys and contain at least 2 residential units).

The Law will implement a number of key changes including:

  • The establishment of a dedicated Building Safety Regulator to act as the sole Building Control body and to ensure advisory and competence committees are established
  • A 3-stage gateway process which requires approval at the planning, pre-construction and completion stages.
  • An Accountable Person (for high-risk buildings) to be appointed to have legal responsibility for ensuring that fire and structural risks are understood, and that appropriate steps and actions to mitigate and manage these risks are taken.
  • A Golden Thread of building Information to be created, stored and updated for high-risk buildings throughout the building’s lifecycle.
  • Residents to be given a voice and a channel to ensure their complaints and concerns are heard and not dismissed.

The recent Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (announced on 18 May 2022) will also require all new residential blocks over 18m to in future have an evacuation alert system to inform residents of a change in evacuation strategy during a fire and all new residential buildings above 11m will have to have a secure information box to provide important details about a building and help fire and rescue services which in the event of a fire. Electronic floor plans and information about the design and materials of external walls for all high-risk buildings must also be provided to the fire service and signage (visible in low light or smoky conditions) must be installed to identify floor and flat numbers.

To help you stay informed of the regulations as they are implemented, we will be releasing a series of articles covering all of the key provisions of the Building Safety Act and the subordinate regulations in the order in which they are to enter into force. In the interim should you require further help or advice, please contact Louise Mansfield.


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Net Zero

50 projects receive up to £100,000 to boost investment in nature

On Tuesday 31 May, Defra and the Environment Agency announced the second round of the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF), will provide grants of up to £100,000 to environmental groups, local authorities, businesses and other organisations to drive development in nature projects which would attract private investment [see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/50-projects-receive-up-to-100000-each-to-boost-investment-in-nature ]

Amongst the 50 innovative projects successful in the second round of the fund include those that improve flood resilience, create green urban spaces and restore and rewet peatlands.

The funding is intended to assist with the development of projects so they can show a return on that investment by capturing the value of biodiversity, carbon, water and other benefits provided by natural assets such as rivers, woodland and peatlands.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of NEIRF in more detail, please get in touch with one of our Net Zero legal and commercial specialists Nadeem Arshad or Nathan Bradberry.


The Environment Act 2021 (Commencement No. 3) Regulations 2022

These Regulations bring into force provisions of the Environment Act 2021 (c. 30). These are the third commencement regulations made by the Secretary of State under the Act. The provisions came partly into force on 10 May 2022 and will be fully in force on  30 September 2022.

Publications & Guidance

YES WE CANZ: Local leaders delivering Clean Air and Net Zero

UK100 | 12 June 2022

Local authority Net Zero and clean air policies need to be aligned to save lives and taxpayers' money, according to a new report from UK100, released ahead of Clean Air Day. The report, Yes We CANZ: Local leaders delivering Clean Air and Net Zero, introduces the concept of "Clean Air Net Zero" (CANZ) — ensuring Net Zero policies include a clean air audit and vice versa. It argues not enough has yet been done to learn from the mistakes that led to dieselgate, where diesel vehicles were promoted across Europe as a climate-friendly option without regard to the increase in deadly air pollution emissions associated with diesel combustion.

Measuring and reporting public sector greenhouse gas emissions

National Audit Office (NAO) | 10 June 2022

This report examines the extent to which the government measures and reports public sector emissions in line with its ambition for the public sector to be a leader in decarbonising its activities. It examines:

  • the landscape of public sector emissions measurement and reporting (Part One);
  • the completeness of current measurement and reporting requirements for public sector bodies and progress in improving the transparency of reporting across central government (Part Two); and
  • whether government and public sector organisations are using emissions data to inform future planning (Part Three).

Nutrient and water neutrality: The impact of environmental protections on housing supply

Local Government Association | 10 June 2022

The LGA commissioned Residential Analysts and Canal Street Research to investigate the potential impact of environmental protections on new housing delivery.

Emissions must be reduced in the construction of buildings if the UK is to meet net zero, MPs warn

UK Parliament | 26 May 2022

From residential to commercial buildings, the UK’s built environment is responsible for 25% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) warns that to date there has been a lack of Government impetus or policy levers to assess and reduce these emissions. With climate deadlines looming, urgent action is needed. Please click here to read the report: Building to net zero: costing carbon in construction.

Rising to the climate change challenge: The role of housing and planning within local councils

Town and Country Planning Association | 24 May 2022

report by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE), researched and written by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), has been published, considering the important role of local councils in tackling climate change, with an emphasis on their responsibilities in relation to housing and planning.

Environmental compliance and enforcement

National Audit Office (NAO) | 24 May 2022

The purpose of this briefing is to support the Environmental Audit Committee’s scrutiny of government’s environmental protection work. It aims to provide the Committee with factual analysis as it considers the impact of significant changes to environmental protection following the EU Exit and the Environment Act 2021, and concerns that have been raised about the work of the regulators.

Transport decarbonisation could provide multi-billion pound boost to local economies, says new report

Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology | 23 May 2022

Analysis published in a new report has shown that transport decarbonisation could result in a multi-billion pound boost to local economies across the country, but says action from the Government is needed. The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) and Hitachi Energy’s report – Decarbonising Transport: Enabling local energy solutions’ – is an analysis of the energy requirements to deliver Net Zero transport systems in local areas across the UK.

Fly-tipping - the illegal dumping of waste

House of Commons Library | 23 May 2022

This Commons Library briefing paper gives a general overview of the extent of the problem of fly-tipping in England and the powers and responsibilities of the Environment Agency, local authorities and landowners to deal with it. It also sets out recent Government actions to tackle it and proposals for reform.

Green space provision should be central to levelling up, charity says

Local Gov | 18 May 2022

The amount of green space per person is lower in the areas that the Government is targeting as part of the levelling up agenda than it is in other parts of the country, a new study has revealed. In their annual ‘Green Space Index’ report, the charity Fields in Trust found that local authorities in the Government’s priority levelling-up areas have, on average, 10% less green space provision when benchmarked against the amount communities need to thrive.

EU energy security: Implications for the UK

House of Commons Library | 17 May 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the fragile state of the EU’s energy security. How has the EU responded and what does this mean for the UK?

Miles Ahead: Road pricing as a fairer form of motoring taxation

Social Market Foundation | 16 May 2022

As the UK transition towards electric vehicles that don’t incur fuel duty, the Treasury faces a revenue loss of £30bn each year. Given the unpopularity of fuel duty, this report explores the case for introducing a nationwide road pricing system in the UK – setting out a model that is fairer than fuel duty, replaces lost tax revenue, and reduces the burden on low-income households.

Coalition of leading industry bodies join forces to develop UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard

Architecture | 13 May 2022

A cross-industry steering group, representing stakeholders across the built environment, have joined together to develop a Standard for verifying UK buildings as net zero carbon. The UKGBC’s Whole Life Carbon Roadmap demonstrates that buildings are directly responsible for around a quarter of carbon emitted by the UK. There is therefore no credible pathway to net zero for the UK economy without tackling emissions associated with the construction and operation of our buildings.

Get in on the Act: The Environment Act 2021

Local Government Association | 10 May 2022

The LGA worked extensively with Members of Parliament and Peers during the passage of the Environment Bill to provide information and research on implications for local government, support with the drafting and tabling of amendments, influence decision makers to secure favourable outcomes for councils and garner cross-party support for amendments that were in the interest of local government.


‘Clean Air Net Zero’ approach could boost local areas by £1.6bn

Local Gov | 13 June 2022

Local and regional policymakers must consider the air quality impact of net zero policies to save billions of pounds and to avoid another ‘dieselgate scandal’, a new report has said. The new study from UK100, a network of local and regional leaders committed to delivering net zero ahead of the Government's 2050 target and tackling air pollution, argues that net zero policies should include a clean air audit and vice versa.

High Court to hear legal challenges to UK Government’s key net-zero policy packages

edie | 8 June 2022

Three environmental campaign groups – Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project – mounted separate legal challenges to the Strategy in January. The crux of their argument is that the Strategy, first published last October in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow, does not detail sufficient measures for delivering the legally binding emissions targets that the UK Government is committed to. As such, it may be in breach of the Climate Change Act, which was first set in 2008 and was updated in 2019 as the Conservative government enshrined the 2050 net-zero target in law.

Chancellor raises household support fund by £500m

Local Government Chronicle | 26 May 2022

The government will top up the household support fund by a further £500m to support families with the cost-of-living crisis, the chancellor of the exchequer announced this lunchtime. The fund, which is distributed by county councils and unitary authorities, is set out to support those most in need due to rising living costs. See LGA’s response here: LGA responds to cost of living announcement | Local Government Association.

Doubts raised about councils meeting net-zero targets 

Local Government Chronicle | 26 May 2022

Senior figures in the local government sector doubt that their councils are on track to meet their net-zero targets, an LGC survey has revealed.

Borough council launches legal challenge over planning inspector approval for 141-home scheme amid dispute over housing land supply

Local Government Lawyer | 26 May 2022

Ashford Borough Council has lodged a s.288 legal challenge over a planning inspector's decision to allow an appeal of the local authority's refusal of planning permission for a 141-dwelling project. The developer's appeal was successful after the planning inspector said he was not convinced the local authority could meet its proposed five-year housing land supply (HLS).

Every household to get energy bill discounts of £400 this autumn

BBC News | 26 May 2022

Every household in the UK is to get an energy bill discount of £400 this October as part of a package of new measures to tackle soaring prices. The poorest households will also get a payment of £650 to help with the cost of living, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said.

Rishi Sunak announces £5bn windfall tax on fossil fuel giants to help households deal with energy price crisis

edie | 26 May 2022

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined additional measures to help households pay for skyrocketing energy bills, with a significant portion of the funding set to be raised using a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas majors, although questions remain about a potential tax deduction on UK oil and gas extraction.

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme: Phase 3 (currently closed to applications)

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 23 May 2022

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published the list of projects funded in the first Phase 3 application window, Phase 3a, of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS), as well as the summaries of all projects funded. 160 public sector organisations have been awarded grants for 217 energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects, with over £500m awarded in total across all the projects. The guidance for the next application window, Phase 3b, will be published in July 2022 with the application window set to open in September 2022.

Public building upgrades to save taxpayers £650m per year

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 23 May 2022

Hospitals, schools, libraries, museums and leisure centres across England are among hundreds of public buildings that will cut their use of expensive fossil fuels and save millions of pounds on bills, thanks to £553m in government funding for affordable, low carbon heating and energy efficiency upgrades.

The need for Green Belt reform

Local Gov | 20 May 2022

February’s Levelling Up White Paper contained just four references to the Green Belt. Although it is suggested that the White Paper was disappointing in its lack of in detail, it gave some hope that the 70-year old legislation pertaining to the Green Belt might be reviewed.

Council launches West Midland’s first community investment fund

Local Gov | 20 May 2022

Telford & Wrekin Council has launched the West Midland’s first crowdfunding campaign to try and raise half a million pounds for green initiatives. The council’s Community Municipal Investment (CMI) gives local residents the opportunity to invest a minimum of £5. Investors will earn 2.1% interest per year and the council will use the fund to support green projects.

Proposed bill ‘Ella’s law’ could enshrine right to clean air

Air Quality News | 20 May 2022

A new bill, which aims to protect people against air pollution, has been introduced in the House of Lords after being voted top of the ballot for private members’ bills (PMB’s).

Industry consortium pilot to help councils with flexible plastic recycling

MRW | 19 May 2022

An attempt to lift the low recycling level of flexible plastic packaging will be made by a consortium of waste companies and local authorities. This comes ahead of the material’s inclusion among the consistent collections rules from 2027, even though recycling rates are at present just 8%.

Schemes up in the air? Place-by-place rundown of clean air zone progress

Local Government Chronicle | 18 May 2022

The good, the bad and the average in the push for clean air zones.

Clean air zones analysed: 'we need the carrot to go with the stick'

Local Government Chronicle | 18 May 2022

Clean air zones are designed to reduce dangerous levels of pollution but in some places they have been surrounded by a fog of complications and delays, reports Steven Downes.

Changes to food waste collection and recycling: What actions do councils need to take?

Local Gov | 17 May 2022 

The Environment Act 2021 became law in November 2021, introducing changes to waste collection so that recyclable household waste (which includes food waste) must be ‘collected separately from other household waste’. Food waste itself must be collected at least once a week.

Ministers announce £200m for new active travel schemes

Local Gov | 16 May 2022

New executive agency Active Travel England will oversee the delivery by local authorities of 134 schemes, backed by £161m, including new footways, cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings across 46 local authorities outside London. In addition, 19 authorities will receive a share of £1.5m for ‘mini-Holland’ feasibility studies, to assess how the areas could be as pedestrian and cycle-friendly as their Dutch city equivalents.

7 in 10 UK councils struggling to finance their net-zero transition, survey finds

edie | 16 May 2022

A survey of decision-makers at 50 local authorities in the UK has found that most have not begun properly delivering their net-zero transition plans on the ground, with funding constraints being the most common barrier to progress.

Government misses 50% recycling target

Local Gov | 12 May 2022

More than 100,000 extra tonnes of rubbish was sent to landfill during lockdown, the latest figures reveal as Government misses 50% recycling target. Household recycling rates in England fell from 46% in 2019 to 44% in 2020, according to the Government’s data.

Law Society calls for net gain requirements to be disapplied where biodiversity impact not significant, amid concerns planning system will be slowed down

Local Government Lawyer | 12 May 2022

The Law Society said it believes that 10% biodiversity net gain requirements should be applied “as broadly as possible” and that exemptions should be kept to a minimum, in a response to a consultation undertaken by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on the scope of proposed regulations.

A new way to finance councils’ net zero

The MJ | 11 May 2022

Last month Camden LBC joined the growing number of local authorities in the UK to launch a community bond to help finance carbon reduction projects. But they aren’t the first to raise finance for local green projects this way.

Performance modelling for energy efficiency key to lessening fuel crisis impacts

Local Gov | 11 May 2022

The built environment is incredibly energy intensive, accounting for 42% of the UK’s CO2 emissions, but energy is used and wasted needlessly in virtually every building. In some premises, this wastage can be as high as 50% and in the climate of rising energy bills, this may exert unnecessary pressure on local authorities that are already struggling to balance their budgets.

Council restarts development following nutrient neutrality analysis

Local Gov | 10 May 2022

Havant Borough Council has been able to lift the block on housing development in the area following analysis into nutrient neutrality. In April, Natural England told 42 local authorities to halt residential development until they could prove that new homes in protected sites do not cause nutrient pollution in water courses.

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Delivering Value

Change ahead for Education

Education provision is entering into a period of substantive change, following the publishing of the government’s White Paper (Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child on 28 March 2022 and the issue of the Schools Bill on 12 May.

The Schools Bill introduces a controversial set of amendments which are wide in scope, ranging from powers for the DfE to intervene at academy trust level and the ability for local authorities to apply for enforces academy schools. The Bill is relevant and applicable to academy trusts and sponsors, local authorities, out of school and private school sector provision.

There have been further significant developments – the Department has now published more detailed plans around academy trusts (Next steps towards a stronger school system with all schools in strong trusts) as well as direction over the move towards permitting local authorities to establish academy trusts (Local authority established MATs: registration of interest).

This comes at a similar time to the publishing of the Independent Review on Social Care – an exciting time for children’s education and social care provision.

Please do feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any of these new developments with our teams who are currently working with supporting local authorities navigating these new opportunities. If you would like to discuss, please contact Kirtpal Kaur Aujla.

Publications & Guidance

Social workers at breaking point with half at risk of quitting, warns UNISON

Unison | 13 June 2022

Excessive workloads, high stress levels and low morale are rife among social workers who are at breaking point, according to a new report published today (Monday) by UNISON. The report – Social work and the impact of the Covid pandemic – is based on a survey of nearly 3,000 social workers across the UK. It sheds light on the working conditions of social workers, and limitations on the help they are able to give vulnerable families.

New report shows 13,000 staffed beds required across the NHS to drive meaningful change and improvement

Royal College of Emergency Medicine | 31 May 2022

A new report by The Royal College of Emergency Medicine ‘Beds in the NHS shows that 13,000 staffed beds are required in the NHS across the UK to drive meaningful change and improvement. Meaningful change and improvement would constitute a significant improvement in A&E waiting times, ambulance response times, ambulance handover delays, and a return to safe bed occupancy levels.

Next steps towards a stronger school system with all schools in strong trusts

Department for Education | 25 May 2022

Detailed plans for moving all schools into strong academy trusts have been published today (Wednesday 25 May), kickstarting work towards the goal set out in the Schools White Paper for every school to be in, or in the process of joining, a trust by 2030. The Department has also today published details of how local authorities can apply to establish a multi-academy trust.

New analysis reveals the regional impact on local councils of the government’s flagship adult care reforms

County Councils Network | 25 May 2022

A new report today reveals the regional impact on local authorities as a result of the government’s flagship adult social care reforms, concluding that the costs of these proposals could be significantly underestimated. The analysis, released today by the County Councils Network (CCN) and Newton, provides the first independent analysis of the reforms, which include a more generous means-test, a cap on care costs of £86,000, a move towards a ‘fair’ cost of care, and the ability for people who arrange and fund their own care to ask their local authority to do it on their behalf.

Get in on the Act: Health and Care Act 2022

Local Government Association | 23 May 2022

The Health and Care Act received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022. This briefing outlines what the Act covers and how it will impact local government.

Final Report - The Independent Review of Children's Social Care

The independent review of children’s social care | 23 May 2022

The independent review of children’s social care published its final report, it is a once in a generation opportunity to transform the children's social care system and provide children with loving, safe and stable families. On the day of the final report’s publication, the government set out the actions it is taking to improve children’s social care and its plans to publish an implementation strategy on children’s social care before the end of 2022.

Equal access for all should be at the heart of services, Ombudsman says

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman | 19 May 2022

Local authorities across England need to ensure disabled people are at the heart of how their services operate, so nobody in their community is placed at a disadvantage, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has said. The Ombudsman’s latest report shares the learning from its investigations to help councils, and other local services, meet their legal duties to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to access their services, whatever their needs.


Cost of living crisis: councils face winter of ‘difficult decisions’ as spiralling inflation adds £1.5bn to costs

County Councils Network | 14 June 2022

England’s largest councils today warn they could have to make in-year reductions to services and cancel or delay repairs to local roads and infrastructure as spiralling inflation adds over £1.5bn to their costs. The new figures, based on research conducted by the County Councils Network (CCN) and the Society of County Treasurers, reveals that the estimated costs of inflation in 2022/23 for 40 of England’s largest councils has risen by 92% in just three months since they set their budgets in March.

Call for ‘substantial’ pay rise for chiefs amid ‘dangerous workloads'

Local Government Chronicle | 9 June 2022

Union representing local government chiefs are calling for pay rises on par with other council employees after it revealed chiefs’ wages have fallen by almost a third since 2008. Unison and GMB, representing the officers' side of the joint negotiating committee for chief officers, says their members are continuing to report “dangerous workloads” after going “above and beyond” during the pandemic, and that a “substantial increase” in pay would represent a “form of recognition for the very high levels of unpaid overtime that our members contribute”.

Government expects further delay to school funding reforms

Public Finance | 9 June 2022

The government first proposed the national funding formula (NFF) in a white paper in 2010, with the aim of ensuring all schools receive a fair level of support per pupil. The NFF was ‘soft launched’ in 2018-19, with funding given to authorities to allocate to schools through a separate formula.However, a Department for Education consultation has now revealed that arrangements meaning central government will fund schools directly may not be implemented until 2027 – three years later than the government said as recently as last year.

Leisure bodies demand urgent support over rising energy costs

Local Government Chronicle | 7 June 2022

Rising energy costs could force councils and other providers of public leisure centres to close facilities, the government has been warned. The Local Government Association is part of a coalition of bodies that have written to communities secretary Michael Gove and culture secretary Nadine Dories to demand urgent discussions.

Unions demand 'substantial' pay increase

The MJ | 6 June 2022

Councils will be consulted this month after local government trade unions demanded a ‘substantial’ pay increase amid rising costs of food, fuel and household bills. The unions have asked for the increase to be the larger figure out of £2,000 or the current rate of the retail price index, which hit 11.1% in April.

60% of homecare providers rejecting referrals

The MJ | 6 June 2022

The Homecare Association found 61% of respondents said new client referrals were being declined due to staff sickness or isolation while 11% said were also handing work back and ending support for some existing clients.

Boroughs pledge to tackle over reliance on children’s social work agencies

Local Government Chronicle | 1 June 2022

London boroughs have set of plans to tackle soaring pay rates for children’s social workers, amid growing concern over the increasing market dominance and profiteering of recruitment agencies. The Association of London Directors of Children’s Services (ALDCS) has today launched ‘the London Pledge’, a pan-city collaboration aimed at helping boroughs recruit and retain more permanent staff in children's social work.

ICSs set for £1bn+ gap in first year despite new money

Local Government Chronicle | 1 June 2022

Despite the extra £1.5bn which has so far been earmarked for integrated care systems, analysis by HSJ suggests multiple areas still face significant shortfalls. NHSE has told systems they must find efficiency savings to close the gaps and deliver a breakeven position for the year.

How the £150 council tax rebate is proving a headache for local authorities

Local Government Chronicle | 1 June 2022

The chancellor's council tax rebate did not have the spring renaissance some expected it would. This February, in a statement to the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak announced all those living in properties in council tax bands A-D would receive a £150 rebate from 1 April, to be paid to them by their local authority.

Greater transparency and value for money for council finance system

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 31 May 2022

Plans to ensure councils and local bodies are delivering value for money for taxpayers, strengthening council finances and reducing risk to public funds have been published by the government today (31 May 2022). The government consultation response confirms plans to establish a new regulator, the Audit Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA), as the system leader for local audit within a new, simplified local audit framework.

Council tax support ‘postcode lottery’ prompts reform call

Local Government Chronicle | 31 May 2022

The system for collecting and enforcing council tax needs modernisation and there should be a fairer approach to supporting people who struggle to pay, councils have said. The Commons’ levelling up, housing and communities committee has published written evidence for its inquiry into council tax. The inquiry will look at whether there should be changes to the legislation on the recovery of council tax arrears, and how local council tax support schemes affect council tax collection rates

Affluent areas to lose out in care funding reforms

The MJ | 30 May 2022

Local authorities in wealthier areas with higher levels of self-funded care home residents are likely to fare worse from planned changes to the funding regime, according to latest figures. The new Government guidelines for care include reducing the amount self-funders have to pay, which is currently higher than for those who are council-funded.

Reliance on agency social workers leads to 'fault lines', warns child death panel chair

Local Government Chronicle | 27 May 2022

Being too reliant on agency staff creates "so many additional pressures and fault lines into the system", the chair of a panel looking at two child killings has warned. Speaking to LGC, Annie Hudson chair of the child safeguarding practice review panel highlighted her concerns over councils’ use of agencies to recruit children’s social workers, when they are able to leave at such short notice.

Inflation leaves councils in ‘different universe’

Local Government Chronicle | 25 May 2022

Councils are making rapid recalculations and looking at more cuts as they battle budgetary black holes exacerbated by rising costs. Councils are facing alarming – and growing – budget black holes as they wrestle with steepening costs driven by soaring inflation.

Ministers resist calls for further care funding

The MJ | 24 May 2022

Councils should not rely on Government grants to fund social care, ministers have said. The comments come as the sector told MPs more funding was essential to resolve the sector’s workforce crisis.

City leaders: Workforce shortages a major barrier to levelling up

Local Government Chronicle | 23 May 2022

Local authorities face widespread issues with recruitment and capacity, which are holding them back on making progress on levelling up. Speaking at a panel discussion on high street regeneration during the inaugural UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum, Dr Angela Brockbank, the director of Thirteen Housing Group, whose background is in local government explained the problem.

Cost of protecting vulnerable children has risen by a quarter

Public Finance | 20 May 2022

The upcoming national care review has been tipped as a “once-in-a-generation” chance to reform how councils support vulnerable children at risk of harm, after rising demand caused costs to increase by a quarter.

Warning poorest households are struggling to get £150 energy rebate

BBC News | 17 May 2022

Some of the poorest households in England and Wales are struggling to access council tax rebates to help offset their soaring energy bills, a charity has warned.

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Place & Growth

Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 is now in force and with it comes the prohibition of the charging of ground rents for any amount that is more than a peppercorn on new leases. These changes have implications for Local Authorities in relation to their stock, whether on new sales or, in some instances, resales, lease extensions and surrenders and regrants.

Preserved right to buy/right to acquire

The historic right/obligation to charge a £10 ground rent in relation to any leasehold sales of this nature has now been removed and replaced with the peppercorn rent requirements in the new Act. From a procedural perspective Local Authorities should ensure that their team dealing with right to acquire and preserved right to buy transactions are aware of this change and that this change is fed through to any standard documentation used on these transactions (whether acceptance of right to acquire notices and/or leases themselves).

Shared ownership leases

Although there is an exclusion from the Act, this only applies to the Landlord’s share of the property, no ground rent or other rent can be charged upon the tenant’s share. In addition, as you would expect, when the Landlord’s share reduces to 0% (meaning that the tenant is a 100% owner) the ability for the Landlord to charge anything other than a peppercorn rent falls away.

Lease extensions

The new legislation deals with statutory lease extensions and voluntary lease extensions differently. A statutory lease extension would reduce the rent down to a peppercorn.  There is no procedure or process within the legislation to allow an existing ground rent to be retained on a statutory extension.

In relation to voluntary lease extensions, it is open to the Landlords to continue charging the existing ground rent until the end of the “old” term of the lease.  Once the new lease term commences (i.e. the part of the term that goes beyond the original lease term) this will be subject to the prohibition on any ground rent other than a peppercorn. This means that the lease extension could result in a split ground rent for the new term.  

Surrender and regrant

Except for a situation where the surrender and regrant is a result of a lease extension where only the term is extended (in which case the surrender and regrant provisions do not apply) a surrender and regrant will result in the ground rent on the new regranted lease reducing to the peppercorn required under the legislation.

Buy Back

If a Local Authority is in a position to buy back a long lease with a view to re-providing the property as a similar tenure, then it would need to consider carefully whether they would want to merge the lease back into its superior interest (effectively terminating the existing lease and any ground rent payment obligations that go with it) or whether it should retain that lease and, when it comes to sell the flat again, (assuming that the lease will allow) that they simply assign the existing lease (with the existing ground rent provisions) to the new tenant. 

Retirement Scheme

The legislation provides that retirement schemes have a reprieve from the ground rent prohibition until April 2023 when the provisions will come into force in respect of such schemes as well.

Local Authorities should, if they have not already done so, urgently review their leasehold stock and consider whether their teams are properly informed of the changes and the potential impact on their business.

For further assistance of this topic, please contact Richard Stirk


‘Ofsted-style’ inspections and unlimited fines for failing social landlords

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 8 June 2022

Failing social housing landlords could face unlimited fines and Ofsted-style inspections, under the Social Housing Regulation Bill set to be introduced to Parliament today (8 June 2022).

New Bill to set up UK Infrastructure Bank announced in Queen’s speech

HM Treasury | 12 May 2022

The UK Infrastructure Bank Bill is the final step in setting up the UK Infrastructure Bank as an operationally independent institution.  The Bill will remove legal obstacles so the Bank can lend directly to local authorities and the Northern Ireland Executive for infrastructure projects. The Bank, launched in June 2021, is a key part of the Government’s National Infrastructure Strategy and is already investing in infrastructure across the UK.

Government to deliver ‘new deal’ for renters

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 11 May 2022

Renters Reform Bill to improve lives of millions of renters by driving up standards in the private and socially rented sector, delivering on the government’s mission to level up the country.

Publications & Guidance

All over the place: Perspectives on local economic prosperity

Resolution Foundation | 7 June 2022

The place where one is born, educated and works can have a profound bearing on one’s living standards. But how do people who live in different types of places experience their local area and want it to change? In April 2022, we ran four focus groups in Yorkshire and the Humber to explore this question. We listened to people from all walks of life discuss their lives in, and aspirations for, their local economy in Leeds, Hull, Barnsley and Scarborough. What we heard in these groups has important implications for both the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda and the Economy 2030 Inquiry.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill 2022-23

House of Commons Library | 1 June 2022

A briefing on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill 2022-23.

Government response to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee report on The Future of the Planning System in England

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 17 May 2022

This is the government’s response to the Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Select Committee’s inquiry on the future of the planning system in England published on 10 June 2021.

Work Local: Unlocking talent to level up

Local Government Association | 16 May 2022

The Government is right to put skills, retraining and job creation front and centre of its levelling up agenda, recognising that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. Investment and interventions to achieve this must connect up at a local level and for all places if they are to support people of all ages – learners, unemployed people, career changers – as well as businesses and other employers of all sizes – progress. A joined up and locally responsive employment and skills offer is critical to this.  This is not happening for all areas; we believe it should. That’s why the LGA is delighted to present Work Local: Unlocking talent to level up.  

The future of last-mile deliveries: Understanding the local perspective

Local Government Association | 16 May 2022

The LGA has commissioned Dr Daniela Paddeu of the Centre for Transport and Society, University of the West of England, to carry out independent research to explore the role of local authorities in co-designing and implementing sustainable local freight solutions for the ‘last mile’ of parcel deliveries.

Business rates revaluation 2023: the central rating list

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 6 May 2022

This publication summarises the responses to the consultation and sets out the government’s response.


Communities across the UK can bid for Levelling Up funds to save pubs, clubs and historic buildings

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 11 June 2022

Community groups across the UK can today (11 June 2022) bid for levelling up funding to take back control of pubs, music venues, sports facilities, and historic buildings for the benefit of the public. Groups will be able to bid for a share of the government’s £150m Community Ownership Fund to rescue cultural buildings in their area that could otherwise be lost forever, as the second round of funding is open.

Right to buy extension to make home ownership possible for millions more people

Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street | 9 June 2022

Two and a half million tenants renting their homes from housing associations will be given the right to buy them outright, the Prime Minister has announced. In a speech today, he has confirmed an extension of the popular Right to Buy scheme, which has made home ownership a reality for two million households since the 1980s.

Major road and bridge upgrades to boost economic growth across the country

Department for Transport | 3 June 2022

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists will benefit from reduced congestion and improved connectivity through £160.8m investment for 4 major road projects across England. Today (3 June 2022) the government has announced 4 schemes in Newcastle, Cornwall, Greater Manchester and Southampton, which will generate an estimated £659.3m in economic benefits for the regions through improved investment, new housing and employment opportunities.

Fire safety guidance strengthened for new high-rise homes 

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 1 June 2022

New improvements to fire safety guidance form part of a wider update to tighten building regulations and provide clearer fire safety rules for the design or construction of residential developments.

Business Rates Revaluation 2023: Consultation on the transitional arrangements

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 30 May 2022

A consultation on the transitional arrangements to be introduced at the 2023 revaluation to ensure changes in bills are gradual and phased in over time. This consultation closes at 10:45pm on 18 July 2022.

Eligibility for Community Ownership Fund expanded

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 27 May 2022

More community groups will be able to rescue prized local assets, such as sports clubs, music venues and historic buildings, following the expansion of levelling up funding.

Garden communities set to flourish across England

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 21 May 2022

Thousands of new homes and jobs will be created in beautiful, green neighbourhoods across England, supported by £15m government funding for garden communities.

Home Secretary unveils ambitious plans for fire reform

Home Office | 18 May 2022

The most comprehensive plans for fire reform in decades have been set out today in the government’s Fire Reform White Paper, which will help strengthen the emergency services and seek to ensure people feel safer in their homes. See LGA’s response here: LGA responds to Government's Fire Reform White Paper

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Governance & Reorganisation

Will the Government be defined by the greatest cost of living crisis in decades? Inflation at a 40 year high – and inequality is going the same way

The news has been flooded recently with the woes of the cost of living crisis and ever rising inflation. The warmer weather offers temporary respite from the pressure of rising energy costs, but it won’t be long before many are again having to choose between food or heat.

Councils are too going to be faced with some very tough decisions come winter, or face being unable to balance the books. Inflation has continued to rise since budgets were set in March, only worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and even greater price rises. A County Councils Network (CCN) report has forecasted inflation pressures of £1.5bn and a £729m funding gap, with London Councils projecting £400m gap across the capital.

For many authorities this will mean having to consider reductions to services, impacting those who most need them, unless the Government steps in to offer support in the Autumn Budget. All this comes as the pressure on demand-led services in adult and children’s care intensifies as more families are pushed into crisis.

Whilst the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities provided an additional £3.7bn for authorities this year, research by the CCN found that service needs and rising costs “far outstripped” any extra money.    

Under the Government’s three-year Spending Review announced last October, the funding plans for local authorities in 2023/24 are ‘cash flat’ - meaning no rises are planned. Unless funding allocations are increased in line with inflation, services will face greater real terms cuts.

Levelling up, and reducing inequality, is the “defining mission” of the Government. Last month Michael Gove was quoted by the BBC, stating, “unless we stick to those missions, then the cost of living issues that we face at the moment will deepen inequality." However, some of the areas most in need - and identified for levelling up action - are being hit hardest with analysis showing progress hasn’t just stalled but is largely going backwards.

A recent House of Commons research briefing on the rising cost of living was silent on the levelling up agenda, concluding, “overall, recent Government policy benefits low income households most”. Whilst support for households is of course welcomed, its impact will be significantly diluted if local authorities are left to fend for themselves.

For help and advice on Governance, please contact Victoria Barman

Publications & Guidance

Reporting on internal audit

CIPFA | 8 June 2022

CIPFA’s report, Internal audit: untapped potential,  looks at where internal audit is currently making an impact, the areas where it can do more, what's holding it back, and its future potential. It was produced using data collected from a survey of over 800 internal auditors and management professionals across the UK and internationally. Based on these responses, they were able to build a comprehensive picture of the state of internal audit, and assess where it can improve.

Country and regional public sector finances, UK

Office for National Statistics | 27 May 2022

Public sector revenue, expenditure and net fiscal balance on a country and regional basis.

Government has no evidence £hundreds of billions of spending is working

UK Parliament | 27 May 2022

In a report today the Public Accounts Committee has concluded that “departments are not meeting government requirements on publishing evaluation plans and findings” or on “transparency of models and their outputs”, with more than one-third of chief analysts saying they are “only sometimes” able to publish evaluation findings as required.

Quarterly reports on intergovernmental relations

Cabinet Office | 26 May 2022

This page contains the UK government’s quarterly reports on intergovernmental relations in line with our transparency commitments.

What next? The Growing Imbalance between Parliament and the Executive – Lords Committee publishes its End of Session report

UK Parliament | 18 May 2022

The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee recently published its report entitled What next? The Growing Imbalance between Parliament and the Executive. The report provides not only a statistical overview of the Committee’s work throughout the session but also its assessment of legislative practices following the publication in November 2021 of its report Government by Diktat: A call to return power to Parliament. This new report highlights further examples of the way parliamentary scrutiny is being side-lined.

Local Elections 2022: Results and analysis

House of Commons Library | 13 May 2022

This briefing analyses the results of the Local Elections which took place in England, Scotland and Wales on 5 May 2022.

Local government capital investment and borrowing: proposed measures to address risk

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 12 May 2022

Legislative measures to address excessive risk arising from local authority investment and borrowing, while supporting local freedoms for much needed investment.

Special Severance Payments

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 12 May 2022

Statutory guidance on the making and disclosure of Special Severance Payments by local authorities in England.

PWLB lending facility

United Kingdom Debt Management Office | 12 May 2022

HM Treasury has updated its Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) guidance for lending to local authorities. The guidance says that PWLB will not usually advance new loans to local authorities if there is more than a small risk that the loan cannot be repaid without further government support. The guidance applies to any loan that was arranged from 26 November 2020.

Guidance: Casual Vacancy - Failure to Attend Meetings

Association of Democratic Services Officers | 11 May 2022

This guidance was drafted by the Association of Electoral Administrators and has been endorsed by Lawyers in Local Government and the Association of Democratic Services Officers and sets out the appropriate actions to take when a member fails to attend any meeting for six consecutive months.


Support for Equalities Impact Assessments

Open Innovation Team | 7 June 2022

Whether or not they decide to carry out an Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA), the Public Sector Equalities Duty (PSED) places a responsibility on all public bodies to consider the equalities impact of the policy changes they are considering. This can sometimes be challenging so Open Innovation Team are launching a new service that will support colleagues.

Changing the culture for our councillors

The MJ | 7 June 2022

Once again, the elections have brought a new cohort of councillors into local authorities across the country. Some councils have experienced more than a 50% turnover in their elected members.

Councils to be required to have audit committee with independent member

Local Government Chronicle | 1 June 2022

Councils will be required to have an audit committee with an independent member as part of the new system for regulating audit. The government yesterday announced further details of reform under which the Financial Reporting Council is to be replaced with the Audit Reporting & Governance Authority (Arga).

Greater transparency and value for money for council finance system

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 31 May 2022

Plans to ensure councils and local bodies are delivering value for money for taxpayers, strengthening council finances and reducing risk to public funds have been published by the government today (31 May 2022). The government consultation response confirms plans to establish a new regulator, the Audit Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA), as the system leader for local audit within a new, simplified local audit framework.

Concern over electoral registration

The MJ | 31 May 2022

Concerns have been raised that registration details for millions of voters may be out of date. The new process for canvassing, introduced two years ago, involves comparing the electoral registers with other public data to target households where residents’ details are most likely to have changed.

Standards watchdog expresses concern at failure of Prime Minister to implement full package of recommended reforms for Ministerial Code

Local Government Lawyer | 30 May 2022

In a letter, the chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life has welcomed the Government's move to allow the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests to initiate investigations over potential breaches of the Ministerial Code, “having consulted the Prime Minister and obtained his consent". Lord Evans of Weardale also said the Government's decision that the reasons for an investigation not proceeding should be made public in most circumstances also represented an improvement in the process for regulating the Code.

Findings of the Second Permanent Secretary's Investigation into alleged gatherings on government premises during Covid restrictions

Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street | 25 May 2022

Final report on investigation into alleged gatherings during Covid restrictions.

New roles to ‘bash heads’ in Whitehall

The MJ | 26 May 2022

Levelling up directors will act as champions for local government in Whitehall, a minister has told peers.

Projected implementation timelines f or Elections Act 2022 changes are “optimistic at best, undeliverable at worst”, electoral administrators warn

Local Government Lawyer | 23 May 2022

The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) has expressed concern that “our already straining democratic systems are close to becoming undeliverable”. In a letter to Kemi Badenoch, Minister for Levelling Up Communities, AEA chief executive Peter Stanyon said: “The Elections Act alone introduces momentous change, and therefore risk, we must all carefully manage. But the Elections Act is just part of a complicated jigsaw. There are many other issues at play.”

Moving permanently to a hybrid model of council meetings would improve the diversity of local councils, a new survey says

County Councils Network | 19 May 2022

In total, 72% of councillors surveyed in a new poll from the County Councils Network (CCN) said that moving to a hybrid model where some meetings are held online and some are held in-person could attract more younger people, ethnic minorities, and women to stand in local elections. In total, 87% of respondents agreed that they would like their council to be able to adopt a hybrid set up going forward – something which the government has said it is considering.

Met’s investigation into alleged breaches of Covid regulations, Op Hillman, concludes

Metropolitan Police | 19 May 2022

The Met has today announced the investigation into alleged breaches of Covid regulations at Downing Street and Whitehall, under Operation Hillman, is complete. In total, detectives have made 126 referrals for fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for breaches of Covid-19 regulations

High maintenance costs and rise of flexible working see two councils eye shared office

Public Finance | 18 May 2022

Two local authorities in Norfolk have agreed to the £10.1m purchase of a new shared office in a bid to reduce costs as they adapt to hybrid working.

Government to place financial restrictions on 17 authorities

Public Finance | 17 May 2022

Seventeen district and borough councils in England will receive directions from the government limiting capital spending and procurement before they are replaced by new unitary authorities next year.

Government crackdown on capital spending

The MJ | 16 May 2022

Councils face fresh restraints on capital spending under Government plans to lessen borrowing risks. As part of Whitehall’s initiative to improve local government’s financial sustainability, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will be handed further powers to intervene in cases where it believes there is ‘excessive’ risk attached to capital borrowing.

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Contract Management

Cabinet Office proposes plans to update the Short Form Contract for below-threshold value procurements

The short form terms and conditions have been developed by the Cabinet Office for general goods and services contract with a value below the procurement thresholds set out in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.  It is intended to allow authorities to use appropriate and proportionately light touch contract terms for low value procurements, rather than the Model Services Contract or Mid-Tier Contract terms.

The Cabinet Office is planning to develop and update the Short Form Contract for below-threshold value procurements (also known as the Short Form Terms & Conditions). These were last updated in 2020, from the 2014 Short Form Terms & Conditions.

It is planned that an updated version of the Short Form Contract will be published in August/September 2022.  This planned update does not reflect any of the recent legislative changes set out in the Procurement Bill. Rather it brings the Short Form into line with the Model Services Contract and the Mid-tier Contract. The plan is that all three contracts will be updated to reflect final procurement legislation/regulations in 2023.

Supplier views (including those of SMEs) are currently being sought on whether any of these changes will fundamentally change the balance of risk and/or reward for Suppliers.  

These updates will hopefully provide a welcome alternative for low value procurements and will avoid the use of overly complex terms, which can increase costs and act as a barrier to SME's. Caution will need to be given though, in order to ensure an appropriate level of risk allocation is still retained. Low value does not necessarily mean low risk or simple!  It is also worth noting that the short form terms are not suitable for construction works or for IT contracts.

For further assistance, please contact Liz Fletcher


The Procurement Bill

Cabinet Office | 30 May 2022

New procurement rules, which will level the playing field for SMEs and drive economic growth across the UK, have moved a step closer to becoming law this week. The Procurement Bill, which was debated at Second Reading in the Lords on Wednesday (25 May), is expected to become law next year. The Bill will tear up hundreds of complicated and bureaucratic EU rules and replace them with a single, simple and flexible framework for securing public sector contracts. A factsheet can be found here.

The Local Government (Exclusion of Non-commercial Considerations) (England) Order 2022 (Draft)

This Order provides for certain matters specified in the Order to cease to be non-commercial matters for the purposes of section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988. The matters concerned are contracts under which supplies originate in the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, or where the location of the business activities or interests of a contractor is the Russian Federation or the Republic of Belarus. This Order applies to all best value authorities and parish councils in England. It allows these authorities to take comparable action to central Government departments, executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies, as set out in the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note – Contracts with Suppliers from Russia and Belarus (PPN 01/2022). 

Publications & Guidance

Who is subject to financial sanctions in the UK?

HM Treasury | 14 June 2022

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) publishes a list of all those subject to financial sanctions imposed by the UK which it keeps updated. It was recently updated on 14 June 2022.

Social Value 2032: Shaping the Future of Social Value

Social Enterprise UK | 18 May 2022

Social Value 2032: Shaping the Future of Social Value marks the 10th anniversary of the Social Value Act and seeks to further expand its impact and influence. The programme is led by Professor Chris White, former Member of Parliament and author of the Social Value Act, and overseen by Social Enterprise UK. It brings together a coalition of companies at the forefront of the social value agenda, including PwC, Siemens, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, and Shaw Trust. The programme considers how Social Value can expand to cover all public sector procurement and, beyond this, influence the spending of the UK’s largest companies. Through engagement with decision-makers in central and local government and leading businesses, alongside research, publications and the creation of the Social Value Task Force, it will demonstrate the importance of Social Value to both the Levelling Up agenda and the meeting of Net-Zero targets.


Doubts raised about councils meeting net-zero targets

Local Government Chronicle | 26 May 2022

Senior figures in the local government sector doubt that their councils are on track to meet their net-zero targets, an LGC survey has revealed. Respondents identified procurement difficulties as the biggest barrier to councils working with the private sector on lower carbon initiatives, with a lack of understanding of the market also highlighted by many.

Fears over Procurement Bill red tape

The MJ | 26 May 2022

The Government has rejected concerns that new procurement rules will create more red tape for local authorities. A new Procurement Bill, which began its progress through the House of Lords this month, aims to simplify the system following the UK’s departure from the EU. However, fears have been raised over new transparency rules that require notices to be published at various stages of a procurement.

Veolia defends its continued service delivery in Russia

MRW | 23 May 2022

Waste firm Veolia has defended its continued presence in Russia despite sanctions imposed by most western governments. The company has faced criticism from a number of UK councils with which it is contracted and from the GMB trade union.

Procurement Bill, Second Reading, House of Lords, 23 May 2022

Local Government Association | 23 May 2022

The LGA broadly welcomes the Government’s proposed reforms to public procurement including enshrining in law the objectives of public procurement.

In-depth Veolia-Suez merger review finds competition concerns

Competition and Markets Authority | 19 May 2022

The CMA has provisionally found that the merger of Veolia and Suez would lead to a loss of competition in the supply of several waste and water management services in the UK. This loss of competition could then lead to more costly and lower quality services, and in turn to higher council tax bills, as local councils and some businesses would have less choice when procuring key waste and water management services.

KPMG to receive £14m fine over Carillion audit probe  

Public Finance | 13 May 2022

The Financial Reporting Council has fined accountancy firm KPMG £14.4m after finding it provided false and misleading information to its review of the firm's audit of collapsed public sector outsourcing firm Carillion's 2016 financial statements.

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Disputes & Regulatory Support

Watch this space on the eligibility of charities for mandatory relief from business rates

The Supreme Court has granted Merton Council permission to appeal a decision of the Court of Appeal (Nuffield Health v London Borough of Merton [2021] EWCA Civ 826 the Court of Appeal). Last summer, the Court of Appeal gave an important judgment as to the approach to public benefit when considering mandatory charitable relief from non-domestic rates pursuant to s.43(6) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

The issue in question was whether, where a charity uses a hereditament for a particular purpose (here the premises were being used as a gym / fitness centre), to be eligible for relief do the premises need to be used for the public benefit? The council had argued that Nuffield Health should pay rates on the fitness centre since although the organisation is constituted as a charity, it effectively runs as a business.

The majority of the Court of Appeal decided in favour of Nuffield Health in finding that the question of public benefit did not need be assessed separately for each site on which a charity carries out its charitable activity. This resulted in the council being ordered to repay the sum of £930,824 to Nuffield Health. However, David Richards LJ dissented stating that the question of public benefit did need to be satisfied for each site.

This decision obviously has wider implications for local authorities and their powers to levy rates; we will provide an update when the Supreme Court has heard the appeal.   

For help on advice on disputes, please contact Olivia Carter

Publications & Guidance

MPs condemn ‘improper’ attacks on judges

Law Gazette | 8 June 2022

The offices of Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General have become politicised, an all-party group of MPs has concluded in a strong warning about political threats to judicial independence.  The All Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution, chaired by Labour MP Geraint Davies, found that in recent years, law ministers including the Lord Chancellor, have no longer seen their only priority as defending the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary but also to actively promote government interests. 'This has included turning a blind eye to accusations of “the enemy within” or even to encourage doubt in the impartiality of our judges which risks undermining public confidence in the law itself,' the group's report 'An independent judiciary - challenges since 2016' funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, states.

Right time, right place: improving access to civil justice

Social Market Foundation | 23 May 2022

This paper discusses access to civil justice in England and Wales, and how policymakers can create a better functioning and more equitable system.


Water services regulator target of judicial review over “lack of action” on regulating sewage discharges

Local Government Lawyer | 13 June 2022

A legal campaign group has filed proceedings in the High Court against the water services regulator for England and Wales, Ofwat, over alleged failures to regulate sewage discharge into rivers, lakes and the sea. The group, Wild Justice, said it believes that Ofwat has "gone missing in addressing its legal obligations to ensure sewage works are fit for purpose in the 21st Century".

CQC updates guidance on notifying councils of impending failure of “difficult to replace” adult social care providers, following High Court ruling

Local Government Lawyer | 8 June 2022

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has updated its guidance on when it will inform local authorities of the likely failure of a care provider, after a High Court judge found the regulator had unlawfully attempted to use new guidance to lower the threshold for notification. The move comes after Advinia Health Care successfully claimed a revision to the guidance from the CQC, the independent regulator of health and social care services in England, breached section 56(1) of the Care Act 2014.

Councils secure continuation of injunction over fuel terminal protests until May 2023

Local Government Lawyer | 6 June 2022

Essex County Council and Thurrock Council have secured an extension to May 2023 of an injunction which prevents protestors from blocking roads and vehicles at key fuel terminals and filling stations in the area. The interim injunction was granted on 25 April 2022 after an out of hours hearing without notice before Ritchie J.

Supreme Court grants council permission to appeal in key case on charities and mandatory relief from business rates

Local Government Lawyer | 6 June 2022

The Supreme Court has granted Merton Council permission to appeal a decision of the Court of Appeal concerning charities' eligibility for mandatory relief from non-domestic rates. Serle Court Chambers said at issue in particular was the question whether for premises to be eligible for relief they must be used for the public benefit as that concept has been developed in charity law.

Millions invested to help people facing eviction or repossession

Ministry of Justice | 31 May 2022

More people will get access to free expert legal advice to give them the best chance of keeping their home when they fall into difficult financial times, backed by over £10m of extra funding injected into housing legal aid every year. Reforms to the former Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme (HPCDS) mean that anyone facing eviction or repossession will now receive free early legal advice on housing before appearing in court, as well as continuing to get advice and representation on the day of their hearing. By helping people facing repossession at the earliest point, it will potentially avoid the need for court proceedings altogether.

High Court rules on judicial review of decisions by housing associations on management transfers

Local Government Lawyer | 1 June 2022

The High Court has ruled that decisions taken by housing associations around the consideration and refusal of management transfers are subject to judicial review. This arose in a case brought by the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) on behalf of a domestic abuse survivor.

Council defeats bid to enforce decision of adjudicator in highways contract dispute

Local Government Lawyer | 30 May 2022

Liverpool City Council has succeeded in the High Court in having an adjudicator’s decision in a dispute on a highways contract declared unenforceable over a question of natural justice. Find the judgement here:  Liverpool City Council v Vital Infrastructure Asset Management (Viam) Ltd [2022] EWHC 1235 (TCC). 

Council secures strike out of parts of witness statement for claimant in £1.7m planning negligence dispute

Local Government Lawyer | 30 May 2022

Hertsmere Borough Council has had 11 paragraphs wholly or partly struck out of a witness statement from developer Primavera Associates, with which it is locked in a planning dispute. HHJ Paul Matthews, sitting as a judge of the High Court, heard Primavera has claimed £1.7m from Hertsmere, which it has alleged caused it loss through negligence in the planning process.

Judge rejects legal challenge to grant of planning permission in dispute over whether committee could impose condition requiring 12 metre ecological corridor

Local Government Lawyer | 23 May 2022

A High Court judge has dismissed a judicial review challenge of BCP Council’s decision to grant full planning permission for a substantial mixed use development in Bournemouth. The claimant in Suliman, R (On the Application Of) v Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council [2022] EWHC 1196 (Admin) lives in an adjoining street and her property backs on to the site. She objected to some aspects of the application for planning permission.

London borough and former housing maintenance contractor in multi-million pound dispute: report

Local Government Lawyer | 19 May 2022

A housing maintenance company that previously provided services to the London Borough of Waltham Forest Council is reported to be suing the local authority for payments under the contract, while the council is in turn counter-suing over the installation of almost 300 allegedly sub-standard fire doors.

Claimant loses legal challenge over refusal of Culture Recovery Fund loan

Local Government Lawyer | 19 May 2022

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has defeated a judicial review challenge to a decision not to give a Government loan to a music festival promoter. Get Real Marketing Company had applied last year to the Culture Recovery Fund, which was set up by the Government to distribute cheap loans from a £1.57bn fund to cultural bodies struggling during the pandemic.

Councils withdraw legal action after Home Office meets asylum dispersal demands

Local Government Chronicle | 18 May 2022

Seven West Midlands councils have withdrawn legal action against the Home Office after the government set out plans for a fairer asylum dispersal scheme. Last autumn the local authorities withdrew from the voluntary scheme to resettle Afghan refugees, arguing that too much pressure was being placed on a small number of mainly urban authorities.

Landlord ordered to pay £230k over flats that were below minimum size standards and not in compliance with planning permission

Local Government Lawyer | 17 May 2022

A landlord in London who “illegally squashed” seven flats into a development that only had planning permission for six, has been ordered to pay £230,000 under a confiscation order. Southwark Council said that, in addition, three of the flats had extra unauthorised bedrooms that added to “the already cramped and sub-standard conditions”.

Council was required to consider public sector equality duty when applying for injunction banning individuals from London square, court rules

Local Government Lawyer | 16 May 2022

Westminster City Council was under a duty to comply with the public sector equality duty (PSED) when it applied for an anti-social behaviour injunction against individuals gathering in a square in London, the Central London County Court has ruled following a preliminary hearing.

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Resource Library

Legal Update: Is a Collateral Warranty a Construction Contract?

Leasehold (Ground Rent) Reforms Act

Cost of Care

Building Safety Act 2022 Published

Health Warning: Error in Homes England – Designated Protected Areas – Mandatory Buy-Back Lease

The End of ‘No-Fault’ Evictions?

All Bevan Brittan articles and news

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Contract Management in the wake of COVID-19

All forthcoming events

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